Writers Need Cats: By Beth Camp

by Penyulap at Wikimedia Commons

You may think that writers work in isolation, hunched over the keyboard, and requiring absolute quiet. But I recommend for the most consistent kick-in-the-pants, inspirational writing companion, you should adopt a cat.

Before Tiger went to kitty heaven, I had the means to closely observe the links between cats and writerly creativity.

  1. Cats know when we should stop working at the computer. Not only will they tread lightly over the keyboard and drape themselves gingerly upon it, but should that not be sufficient, they will leap upon your amassed rough draft and mark selected pages with muddy prints, ensuring you take appropriate breaks from intense writing sessions.
  2. Cats inspire thoughtful analysis. Who has observed a cat gazing into what we cannot see and not realized their attachment to issues far grander than a plot hole – and our own need to think of unique alternatives beyond the outline? Our creativity is enhanced when we explore different perspectives. Cats ensure our connection to the infinite.
  3. Cats model confidence. They move with distinction, poise, and know with certainty that their needs will be taken care of. They do not fear public speaking nor doubt their writing skills.
  4. Cats prompt a range of emotion useful for character development. What cat owner has not received tender gifts from the garden? My Aunt Tessie escaped upstairs in terror after attempting to pick up the ‘toy’ snake Tiger had been playing with in the living room. This gave me a powerful lesson in the physical and emotional reactions characters have to stress.
  5. Cats show us that important fictional and real relationships require love, compassion, and trust. I yet remember that fateful night when I awoke to find my cat nestled next to my tummy, ready to give birth. I learned inventiveness that night as well as respect for the unexpected, useful for plot twists and heightened tension.
  6. Cats nurture the pleasure principle by allowing us to pet them, rewarding us with a low-throated purr, encouraging us to pamper ourselves when we achieve our writing goals.
  7. Cats teach tenacity. When a cat hunts, sneaking forward slowly on unsuspecting prey, no matter the outcome or how many times the goal remains out of reach, a cat will persist. As should we in our story-telling skills and ruthless revision and editing.

And so, my writing friends of ROW80 fame, once a cat is added to your life, I believe your writing will improve, even if you already have a dog leaning on your knee for attention.

by Kopa at Wikimedia Cmmons

~*~

Beth Camp

17 comments

      1. I know! I would have felt too guilty just getting up and leaving. It would be like a friend asking you to be in the delivery room for the birth of her first baby and you saying, “Eew. No.”🙂

  1. Thanks for this! Most days I write, my blind, 17-year-old cat lies on the floor next to me, keeping me company. Except when he jumps up to get a little attention and interrupts my work. But it’s mostly a welcome interruption, and I know it won’t last forever.

    Now that I think of it, my cat has been through every leg of this journey with me. He’s actually spent more time next to me while I write than anyone in my family.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. I love cats! I have two right now, Amelia and Mittens, and they are a constant source of joy and frustration in my life. Cats are sublime creatures, who are either deeply in touch with the eternal, the way they stare at nothing for hours, or deeply disturbed individuals who want to take us down with them in their little handbaskets.

    Or, most probably, both.🙂

    1. Your note made me smile. Love that sharp contrast of their kitty states of mind. I have no cat just now, but appreciate even more that very unique relationship they bring.

    1. Ooooh, that would be motivation to keep that litter box clean! We can’t have cats just now, but I sure do appreciate my kitty-time from the past. Give your two kitties a virtual pet from me, Lauralynn!

  3. I’d have to agree with you Beth. We lost our cat 2 years ago this month – when she was 21 years old. She often jumped on my lap, especially when I was reading. Still miss her – but not able to replace her yet.

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